February 4, 2014

Tapping A Motorcycle Helmet Community

Motorcycling early morning, even though I couldn't determine where this cop was, I knew there was one up ahead because the oncoming riders tapped their helmets for miles and miles. In the carpool lane on Interstate 15 heading north out of San Diego, one rider after another tapped his helmet at me in the oncoming lane.

A Toyota Pathfinder blew past me at nearly 90 mph and I knew he was going to be sorry. What he found was a cop waiting in the wings. Once this happened I thought the danger of a speeding ticket was now behind me, thanks to the Pathfinder driver, but not so. Another rider and yet another rider tapped his helmet at me as I continued to ride. I must have been half asleep, because it took about 10 more minutes for me to realize that the cop I was looking for must be traveling directly ahead of me. As I had promised my hubs Highway when I left that morning, I kept within the speed limit and relaxed my riding.

"Be careful today, OK? I don't want anything to happen to you," Highway said.

It startled me to hear this, actually, as this was so uncharacteristic of him. Not much of a worrier, Highway rarely expresses this type of concern. With a few extra hugs and kisses, I bid him farewell.

It wasn't until I had ridden another 10 miles with riders tapping their warnings at me all along before I saw the CHP in question. Exiting the freeway, then turning around and getting back on in the other direction, that cop was in a hell of a hurry after some other poor bastard to deliver his dose of ticketed misery.

For the rest of that 75 mile ride, I wished I could tell the riders who warned me how much I appreciated them. Most riders will tell you that this is a great community we belong to, but never have I felt more embraced than this day, from the beginning with my hubs loving concern, to the care of the other riders I met along the way.



  1. I think most riders in these parts give the helmet tap to warn of the po-po too. Most times we just relax and try to stay at the speed limit or a smile above. The cops are pretty lenient up to 10-15% over the limit unless someone is acting like an idiot.

  2. I do the helmet tap when I see a cop, but I limit the tapping to within a couple miles of the cop.

  3. For the most part the riders here are friendly and let you know if they see the cops, I generally don't worry about it too much because I am usually not in a hurry when I am out on the bike and stay within the speed or just a few clicks over. I do appreciate it when I see the warning though, I usually give them a wave in return.

  4. Steve:

    When you come up here be careful. Over 40 kms gets your bike impounded. If you are over 10% you will get a ticket. try to stick to 5 kms+ max around the city. If you are in a group of cars, all the cars will be stopped and ticketed. The Sea to Sky and other highways are helicopter patrolled.

    Some bikers will tap their helmet. Others may "flash" their high beams. If there is helicopter they will circle their hands over their helmets in a rotating motion

    Riding the Wet Coast

  5. Tina, that's pretty cool. In all the time I've ridden with my HOG Chapter I've never heard anyone mention tapping your helmet to warn other riders of a speed trap/cop. I don't recall ever seeing anyone around here do that. I feel better educated now and will ask a few other riders in the area about it. Based on the comments it seems like a relatively common practice.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you didn't have any run-ins with johnny law. :-)

    Live free. Ride Hard. Be Happy


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